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Buhari has no relationship with Kumo, says presidency

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President Muhammadu Buhari‎


• As ICPC Declares Him, Others Wanted Over $65m Fraud
• PDP Wants Suspects Tracked Down

The Presidency, yesterday, declared that President Muhammadu Buhari has no relationship with Gimba Yau Kumo, who has been declared wanted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) in connection with a $65 million fraud at the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).

The anti-graft agency, in a list of wanted persons posted on its website, declared Kumo wanted alongside Tarry Rufus and Bola Ogunsola over the alleged fraud.

In reaction, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the alleged $65 million (about N31 billion) fraud in the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), in which Kumo is allegedly involved.

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The party charged the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) not to succumb to reported pressure from the cabal in the Presidency, but to track down Kumo, a former managing director of the bank, who had already been declared wanted, and bring him to book alongside his accomplices.

But in a late statement signed by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency said: “This should normally be an affirmation that our anti-corruption agencies/institutions are truly independent and allowed unfettered freedom by the President, which in fact, is the case.

“That a state institution can issue such is a measure of the administration’s commitment to accountability, equality and justice.

“To set the records straight, the person declared wanted by the ICPC is not an in-law to President Buhari. While at some point in time, the said fugitive from justice had been linked to a family member in marriage, that relationship has ended some years ago.

“It is, therefore, unfortunate to bring the Presidents family into this case. It is in our view, an attempt to generate views and sell copies of sensational reporting.  

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“The President’s position at all times is that the law be allowed to take its course. As is well known of him, President Muhammadu Buhari will not provide any cover for crime, no matter who is involved.”

Kumo had in 2016, married Fatima, the President’s daughter, in Daura, Katsina State.ICPC’s spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, in the notice, urged the public to avail the Commission information about the whereabouts of the wanted persons.

According to the notice posted late on Thursday: “The persons whose pictures appear above, Mr. Tarry Rufus, Mr. Gimba Yau Kumo and Mr. Bola Ogunsola, are hereby declared WANTED by the ICPC in connection with issues bordering on misappropriation of National Housing Funds and diversion of the sum of Sixty Five Million dollars ($65,000,000).”

“Anyone who has useful information on their whereabouts should report to ICPC Headquarters, Abuja, any of the ICPC state offices or the nearest Police station.”

The senate Committee on Public Accounts had in April this year summoned Kumo to explain an alleged irregular award of N3billion contract when he was still at the bank.

The committee issued the summons following a query raised in a report by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) against the FMBN.

The 2015-2018 report is currently under scrutiny by the committee, chaired by Mathew Urhoghide, representing Edo South. According to the report, the contract was awarded in four phases and was overpaid to the tune of N3billion. 

The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, expressed disappointment that “the Presidency had remained silent in the face of the huge fraud involving Mr. President’s son-in-law, only for certain members of the cabal to be reportedly mounting pressure on the ICPC to let him off the hook.”

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The party said it is wicked, afflicting and provocative that while millions of hardworking Nigerians cannot afford their daily meals and other basic necessities of life… they are daily assailed by revelations of unbridled treasury looting under Buhari’s watch.

“Is it not provocative that at the time the administration is moving to cut workers’ salaries, increased the cost of fuel, electricity and other tariffs, in a country with over 33 per cent unemployment and where citizens have been subjected to the worst forms of poverty, government officials, cronies and relations of those in power are busy looting our agencies and carting away our common patrimony? The PDP queried.

The PDP said it is even more distressing that the looted FMBN money is part of funds contributed by Nigerians to meet their home needs, which has instead fallen under “the predatory proclivities of the APC administration.”

The party lamented that “while the Presidency parades a ‘holier than thou attitude,’ the nation’s vaults have been laid open for the pillaging by family members, relations and cronies in the Presidency.” The PDP urged the Presidency to allow for an open investigation of the President’s son-in-law.

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